The Art of Film Scoring – Lesson 3
Psychological Analysis of Film Music

23m 51s beginner Beginner
Author: Chris Fitzgerald

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The Art of Film Scoring is a 6-week primer into the technical and psychological aspects of film composition. Through the course we will cover film music history, thematic analysis, music theory and composition, technical aspects of film scoring, and self promotion tips including resources for website creation and audio and film publishing. The course is taught by film composer Chris Fitzgerald, Berklee College of Music alumnus and former Manager of Training & Programs for Berklee. No prior film scoring experience is necessary. Students are required to own a computer with MIDI sequencing and audio recording software to complete course homework. Throughout the course, students will score a scene from a film, finishing with a complete demo score piece.

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Intelligently analyze the function of music in film
  • Spot the differences between score and diegetic music
  • Work with the technical and psychological aspects of film scoring to compose your own film music
  • Promote yourself as a film composer

Lesson 3 – Psychological Analysis of Film Music

  • Introduction to music theory
  • Composition techniques for setting mood
  • Harmonic and modal variation in film music
  • Film examples

Compose a 30 second piece of music based on the following scenes (or your own invented scene):

Scene 1
Sam is a police officer trapped in a building being held hostage by terrorists. At the opening Sam is in the building ventilation listening in on the terrorists’ conversation.

  • At 10 seconds, Sam makes a noise and the terrorists stop their conversation to listen
  • At 15 seconds they open fire into the ceiling, causing Sam to frantically back away
  • At 25 seconds, Sam escapes and drops out of the vent into the next room
  • Music out by 30 seconds

Scene 2
Mary is a young girl off on an adventure in the early 1900s. At the opening she has just boarded a ship and is about to embark on a cross-Atlantic journey. She is on the deck of the ship, amidst a bustling crowd.

  • At 10 seconds, the ship’s horn sounds, alerting the passengers that they will embark
  • At 15 seconds, the ship pulls away from the dock and we see Mary excited and savoring the moment
  • At 20 seconds, the scene cuts to a majestic view of Mary on the deck of the ship
  • Music out by 30 seconds

Scene 3
Earl is a farmer who is lately having a difficult time making a living. At the opening it is dusk and he is pacing back and forth on his porch. It is a mildly windy summer night, and Earl is contemplating selling his farm.

  • At 10 seconds, Earl stops pacing and leans on the rail of his porch, gazing out into the field.
  • At 15 seconds, Earl sighs and appears downcast
  • At 20 seconds, the scene cuts to the next morning, and we see sweeping views of Earl ploughing the fields on his tractor
  • Music out by 30 seconds

Post your music in the comments thread!